Tuesday, June 22, 2010
#175) GREG HARTS
Greg Harts was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent before the 1970 season. He made the California League All-Star team in 1972 with the Single-A Visalia Mets. Hitting for a .286 batting average, clubbing 18 home runs, and stealing 22 bases. The next year found the young man from Atlanta, Georgia joining the Double-A club in Memphis. Harts led all outfielders in the Texas League with 302 putouts, and earned another All-Star team nod.
The Mets rewarded Greg with a late season call-up. Harts made his major-league debut facing Chicago at Shea Stadium on September 15, 1973. He entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter for Buzz Capra. Greg responded with a single off Cubs' pitcher, Rick Reuschel. As the Mets climbed back into the pennant race the rookie would not see much more action. Harts played in only two more games to close the season. Another as a pinch-hitter and the last as a pinch-runner. He spent the rest of his brief time in the major leagues watching the team fight it's way to the World Series from the New York dugout.
Harts suffered a knee injury during spring training of 1974. He lost speed and mobility in the outfield after his recovery. Greg ended the year in Triple-A Tidewater, but could not return to his previous form. During the winter the decision was made to attempt a conversion of the athletic Harts to a pitcher. His baseball career ended in Visalia after he threw in 19 games and posted a 0-2 record and 5.90 ERA.
I converted an autograph book page from Marie of Des Plaines, Illinois into Greg Harts' card in the set on March 24, 2010. She had gotten it signed along with several other Mets during the 1973 season.